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Iowa Greyhound Park sees wagers soar, faces long-term issues

November 9, 2018

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Wagering soared at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque this year, but the state’s only dog track still faces a host of problems that leave its future in doubt.

About $6.7 million was wagered for races at the park so far in 2018, an increase of nearly 45 percent from last year, The Telegraph Herald reported .

Brian Carpenter, the park’s director of racing and general manager, attributed the increase to scheduling changes that moved races to start when other tracks weren’t racing.

“We’re heading in the right direction and we had a good year,” Carpenter said. “But we are still a long ways from being (sustainable) on our own.”

Despite the increase, the park only finished in the black because of subsidies from Iowa casinos, which will continue through 2022, Carpenter said.

“After that, I don’t know what will happen,” Carpenter said.

Two new lease agreements will also shape the racing facility’s future.

Dubuque City Council members in September approved a five-year lease extension with Iowa Greyhound Association for the track. The lease beginning in January 2020 will require the association to pay $58,000 annually for the track. Operators currently pay just $1 per year for the track.

The grandstand area is leased through a separate arrangement with Q Casino and Hotel. The space is also currently leased to the association for $1 per year. The two groups are working to find a rate for the next five years.

“We cannot be as benevolent or generous as we were the first five years,” said Q Casino CEO Jesus Aviles. “We have to be fiscally responsible.”

Carpenter said he’s also concerned of the potential long-term impacts of Florida’s decision to ban greyhound racing. He said it could cause a downturn in greyhound breeding and could negatively impact multiple local kennels that race dogs in Dubuque during the summer and then transport them south for the winter.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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